The passengers in the last remaining subway train car looked out the windows as the one-eyed bacteria monster loomed menacingly over Razor. Razor revved the Cyclotron's engine. Vroom, vroom! He was beyond enraged.
"Come and get me!" he yelled.
The monster snarled, a nasty, a nasty, phlegmy sound. It clenched and unclenched its huge slimy purple hands as though in indecision, but if it was actually thinking anything, it wasn't immediately apparent. Its single eye simply glared with evil stupidiy, gaping maw curled into the same openmouthed smile as always. Razor popped a wheelie, turning in place, trying to do his best to look appetizing to the beast, intending on luring it away from the train car, to get it to chase him off down the subway tunnel, away from the few remaining kats he'd gotten there in time to save.
The front tire slammed back down onto the ground as the motorcycle completed its turned and he revved the engine again. Vroom! "You're hungry, aren't you? Some dessert after a sub sandwich, you big pile of crud?!"
Hungry. Yes. Dim memories of being promised food prompted the creature into action. The bacteria monster loosed a hideous bellow and lunged forwards with arms outstretched to grab Razor, who hunched his shoulders down in preparation to spin and zoom off, when suddenly the monster's eyebrow flew up, eye going wide and bulging outwards, mouth opening wider in a pained roar as electricity shot through its body.
Razor jerked back in his seat in surprise, then realized what happened. In taking a step forward to attack him, the monster had stepped on the electrified third rail of the track. The bacteria convulsed wildly, roaring. Blinding bright flashes of light played over Razor, who shielded his face with his forearm. In the train car, the passengers ducked down, screaming.
The monster squeezed its eye shut in agony as the sparking arcs of bluish electricity crackling over its form turned it an unsightly brownish color. After a moment, the electrical discharged fizzled out, and the now brown bacteria monster stood frozen in mid-contortion, eye shut, mouth open in a silent but smiling scream. It'd been burned to nothing but a dried up husk. The unmoving form twitched and then slowly crumbled to dust before Razor's eyes.
He stared uncomprehending over his forearm at at the shapeless pile of dust that used to be the monstrous germ creature, then lowered his arm and stroked his chin in thought. Electricity. Heat. Newfound hope filled him. He'd found a way to kill the creatures.
In the remaining car, the passengers and the conductor slowly poked their heads up into view one by one, in varying states of fear, confusion and relief. After a moment, they all began cheering.
"W-we're alive!" said the businessman in the fedora and bowtie.
"I've never so scared in all my life!" cried the frizzy-haired housewife.
"Thank you, SWAT Kat!" said the little boy, Zachary, being clutched happily by his father.
Razor looked over at them. "Is everyone okay in there?" he asked.
There were various shouts of response in the affirmative. Razor smiled, revving the engine again and launching himself back down the tunnel and onto the boarding platform. As he zoomed away, the passengers cheered him.
Razor flew out of the subway entrance on the Cyclotron, skidding to a stop in the street. Reaching up, he activated his helmet's comlink.
"T-Bone?" he said. "Are you there?"
Above him, the Turbokat descended. "Yeah. What happened? Where's the big pile of crud?"
Razor grinned. "French-fried to a crisp!" He frowned. "But not before it ate an entire subway train."
In the Turbokat, T-Bone grimaced in disgust. "Ugh, those poor sons a'..."
"Well... almost," said Razor. "I managed to save one car..." He glanced back at the entrance to the subway. "I saved something like a grand total of five people." Brightening a little, he turned and looked back up at the jet. "But on the bright side, I found a way to destroy these things!"
In the Turbokat, T-Bone nodded.
"Come pick me up, we gotta make a quick stop back at the hangar," said Razor. "And fast!"
It was time to go and see if his experimental Megavolt Missile was worth all the time he'd been putting into it...
Megakat Biochemical Labs was a large, solidly-built facility, standing some fifteen stories tall, modernistic in appearance with enormous windows and surrounded by a chain link fence with barbed wire along the top and a perimeter of large artillery cannons mounted on swivel bases.
In the main lab, chief biochemist Dr. Newton Zyme was preparing for the day's work. He was middle-aged with wavy orange hair and wore a white lab coat. He hated mornings. There was always so much to do, and a large majority of it couldn't be done until the other researchers arrived. And what a bunch of layabouts they were! Zyme thought as he fussed about in the main lab, an enormous room filled with all manner of futuristic-looking scientific equipment and machines, getting things ready for his employees to be able to do their work.
What few of them there were, anyway. Megakat Biochemical was horrendously understaffed these days. In the wake of Elrod Purvis' transformation into Dr. Viper, most of the lab's staff had elected to quit their jobs rather than come to work not knowing whether they'd be attacked by a mutated half cat, half snake mad scientist, or worse, eaten by one of the many freaks of nature he created.
So despite the building's size, it had a staff of less than 100 people, half of them security personnel. With the exception of Alvie and his friend whose name Zyme could never remember, most of the guards were the only dependable employees of the lab. Alvie and his friend tended to just sit around and eat donuts. Zyme had a feeling they would come to a bad end one day due to their inattentiveness.
Hearing the sound of an approaching helicopter, Zyme glanced up and out the window and saw a lone Enforcer chopper flying towards the building, from the direction of the new park where. The chopper flew overhead and Zyme thought it landed on the roof.
Since Dr. Viper's first appearance Zyme had mostly withdrawn from the public. He'd never had much of a social life prior to that, but, since Purvis' transformation into Viper, Zyme had become considerably less buoyant and didn't attend as many conventions or meetings, and completely threw himself into his work at the lab, even moreso than before. He wasn't even aware of the refinery bombings that had happened yesterday.
At the thought of Viper, Zyme glanced over at a small table in the far corner. Its lone occupant was an Erlenmeyer flask of water with a rose in it, with a tall glass dome barrier over it. The rose was mutated, possessing a four-fanged mouth and a lapping forked tongue. Zyme had kept the thing as a reminder of the Viper Mutagen project.
He heard the sound of the elevator dinging in the hallway, and a moment later a party of four cats came into the room. Commander Feral was leading them. Behind him were Mayor Manx, Callie Briggs and an Enforcer pilot.
"Good morning, Commander," he said as they approached.
"No time for idle chit-chat, Dr. Zyme," Feral replied, holding up a hand. "We've got serious trouble."
"Trouble?" Zyme asked. "What sort of trouble?"
Feral opened his mouth to explain when Manx walked up to Zyme suddenly, waving his arms wildly. "There's these huge purple things and they're headed right this way!"
Zyme looked confused. "Purple things? What on Earth are you talking about?"
Ignoring Manx's outburst, Feral said, "We don't know what they are. But they're big and getting bigger every minute. And worse, whenever we shoot them they split apart into more!" He scowled. "I found out that out the hard way." As though eager to change the subject, he said, "Doctor, we need your help to figure out what they are and how to kill them."
Suddenly, Manx grabbed Zyme by the front of his lab coat and shook him. "You've got to do something, Dr. Zyme!" he yelled desperately. "Before those big purple globs destroy my beautiful city!"
Feral grabbed the Mayor's shoulders and made him release the scientist. He then shooed Manx from the room. "Why don't you go out and wait in the hall, Mayor? And try to stay calm."
"Calm?" cried a terrified Manx, his voice rising. "At a time like this?! You're crazy!"
Gibbering in fear, he turned and ran from the lab, leaving the other four alone.
Zyme sighed and smoothed his lab coat out. "How soon until they get here?" he asked.
"About a minute-and-a-half!" cried Feral, pointing out the lab's enormous front windows. "Look! Here come two of them now!"
Zyme turned and looked out the huge front windows of the lab to see two huge purple-colored organisms stomping down the street, headed right for the lab! They were vaguely humanoid in shape, with arms and legs, and had enormous, black gaping-wide mouths that were... smiling? Both of the huge monsters were grinning, no, leering evilly as they approached. Those smiles gave Zyme the chills. Mustering his courage he approached the window, which ran from floor to ceiling; in fact, this entire wall of the main lab was glass, consisting of two of these huge windows.
He looked at the two monsters. They looked like giant germs! The one on the left had one huge, cycloptic eye, while the one on the right had two eyes. Never in his life had Zyme seen something so disgusting and terrifying.
Clearing his throat, he turned to Feral, Deputy Mayor Briggs, and the Enforcer pilot, saying, "They appear to be giant bacteria!"
They all frowned in disgust. Feral was impatient. "Okay, now we know what they are. But is there a way to stop them?"
Callie Briggs joined him at the window. Zyme stroked his chin, thinking. Obviously, the best way to deal with giant germs was with a large quantity of antibiotics. Luckily, the lab had a bulk supply. In fact, there was some in a few flasks on a nearby worktable, which Zyme went to, leaving Callie by herself over by the window.
"On such short notice, this is the best I can do," he said, picking up one of the flasks and holding up for the others to see. Feral in particular looked very interested, and leaned in close, eyeing the flask's contents. "It contains the most powerful antibiotics known," Zyme continued, letting Feral take it. "Hopefully, it should stop them."
"How are we going to deliver it?" asked Feral, handing the flask to his pilot. The other Enforcer frowned as he looked at the bubbling orange liquid, unsure of quite what to do with it.
"I have a large hypodermic needle which I think can be rigged to fire from your helicopter," Zyme said said.
Feral nodded. "Let's get to it, then. I just hope we have time!"
The three other kats watched as Zyme went and got the giant syringe off of a shelf in the back of the room.
"I can fill this with the formula. It's normally used to tranquilize large animals, but it should be able to inject the antibodies into the bacteria's system."
He placed it in Feral's open hands. The Commander looked down at it a moment. "Excellent," he said, turning to his pilot. "Prepare my chopper my at once!"
"Yes sir!" said the pilot, saluting and running off, still holding the flask. A moment later, he ran back, setting the flask down on the table, then ran off again.
"I sure hope it works," said Callie over by the window. "Because those things are heading straight for us!"
"Don't worry, Ms. Briggs," Zyme assured her confidently, joining her by the window once more. He pointed outside. "As you can see, we're well-protected against any attack."
The lab's automated defenses swivelled around on their turrets to face the threat and opened fire. In addition, a cordon of uniformed security guards armed with laser rifles took up positions at the fence. Callie watched, hoping the blasts from the cannons didn't cause the two-eyed creature to split, idly wondering where the third monster was and whether the SWAT Kats had managed to kill it or not. Right as she wondered this, the two-eyed bacteria monster was knocked back by a blast from one of the cannons and she held her breath, but the monster didn't divide. She exhaled slowly.
The bacteria monsters stood there as the shells ripped right through their gooey bodies, doing no damage, the wounds sealing immediately afterward. The lasers fired by the guards had the same effect, passing harmlessly through the creatures' bodies. Roaring angrily, the one-eyed creature swung its fist and destroyed the cannon that had shot it. The creature with two eyes followed suit, smashing another gun beyond use.
The monsters advanced, trampling the fence underfoot. The guards backed up, firing with their laser rifles. The bacteria monsters ignored them, continuing to move inexorably forward onto the property, shrugging off the guards' fire and the bombardment from the remaining cannons. The two-eyed monster was the only one who still remembered its creator Dr. Viper's orders, and it went to the right and attacked the third cannon there while its single-eyed companion simply imitated it and went to the left and attacked a fourth cannon there. The air was filled with explosions and booming. With one mighty swipe, the one-eyed bacteria monster destroyed the third cannon.
The guards stopped firing their lasers. They looked around at one another before turning and fleeing in all directions.
Callie and Zyme watched from the window, turning to look at one another in dismay. There was an explosion as the fourth cannon was destroyed.
"Well, almost any attack..." Zyme admitted, a little nervously.
He turned and hurried away as a fifth explosion signalled another cannon's destruction. Callie, watching him go, didn't notice as a manhole popped open down on the street outside.
Dr. Viper had waited down in the sewer for the bacteria monsters to finish destroying all of the cannons that defended Megakat Biochemical. Although he correctly predicted they'd be of little use against his creations, better safe than sorry. After hearing the last explosion, he had climbed up the ladder and popped the manhole cover, peering out. The coast was clear. Katalyst 99 would be his! All of the cannons were destroyed. Knocking the cover off, Viper climbed out. He only saw two bacteria monsters. Where was the third one, the second single-eyed bacteria? Viper shrugged inwardly. Probably off somewhere else having fun, he guessed.
He had to note the irony of this particular sewer access point. Not only was it the manhole he'd used to arrive at Megakat Biochemical immediately following Purvis' resurrection and transformation into Dr. Viper, it had also provided the means for his escape after his first encounter, and first defeat, at the hands of the SWAT Kats.
He addressed the two monsters. "You two will keep wreaking havoc!" he commanded them. Would they understand? He didn't care. Not at this point. Turning, he approached the front door unmolested. "And I will raid the labsss!"
A few minutes later, Feral's chopper, rotor blades spinning, sat on the rooftop helipad as Dr. Zyme loaded the giant syringe containing the antibiotic formula, which had been modified into an ad-hoc missile, onto the side of the aircraft. Commander Feral looked on from the open side door.
Zyme stood back. "It's all loaded, Commander!"
"Good!" Feral said, turning to his pilot. "Let's go."
"Wait!" cried Mayor Manx, rushing out of the rooftop stairwell. "I'm coming, too!"
He ran across the roof and jumped into the open side of the chopper as it lifted off. He didn't quite make it. He hung there, half in and half out, kicking his legs frantically as he tried to pull himself up. The chopper lifted higher into the air.
"I don't want to be around here if this stuff doesn't work!" he was whimpering.
A disgusted Feral pulled him in the rest of the way. "You're a coward, Manx," he said.
Out of breath, Manx grinned and managed, "Maybe so. But I didn't get to be mayor for ten terms without being a wee bit cautious."
Feral grunted and pulled the door closed. As the chopper turned and flew off, Zyme walked over to the edge of the roof and looked down. Both of the bacteria monsters were just sort of standing there, milling around, not doing very much. One of them, the two-eyed one, grabbed a parked car and stuffed it into its mouth, eating it in one huge bite. Zyme then observed the creature grow in size a bit as the eaten car was added to its bulk. Swallowing nervously, he turned and went back inside.
The Turbokat came tearing out of the clouds. Flying between the buildings, T-Bone flew straight for Megakat Biochemical Labs and the remaining two bacteria monsters. The SWAT Kats had returned to the hangar, picked up Razor's "experimental beauty," as he called it, and doubled back as quickly as they could.
Their objective of getting their creator inside the fortress-like facility having been achieved, the bacteria monsters were simply milling around in the vicinity, dumbly following the last order they'd been given, to wreak havoc and keep the authorities occupied. The larger of the two, the one with two eyes, turned and saw the approaching Turbokat, and once again felt a dim, instinctive hatred of the aircraft. With a gurgling growl, it started down the street towards the approaching jet. It's cycloptic companion simply saw an airborne snack annoyingly out of its reach and remained by the labs, grabbing up parked cars from the facility's parking lot and from the curbs of the surrounding buildings and cramming them into its mouth, munching away stupidly, gradually increasing in size.
T-Bone made an exploratory pass of the two creatures, whooshing between them. The two-eyed bacteria made a frenzied but ultimately slow and clumsy effort to grab it. The one-eyed creature, in the process of stuffing someone's car into its maw, barely acknowledged the passing jet. The one with two eyes struck him as the more immediately dangerous of the two, given both its aggression and the fact, as T-Bone saw it, it could still divide. From what little experience he and Razor had with the creatures, T-Bone was relatively certain the single-eyed monsters were incapable of dividing.
T-Bone glanced back over his shoulder at Razor. "Okay, buddy," he said, "I'll get you in close enough for a good shot! Get the one with two eyes! It can still split and make three again!"
Razor nodded. "Affirmative." He agreed with his partner about which monster to target. The one still capable of dividing was definitely the one to take care of first, especially considering he had only one version of the missile he was about to use.
"Remind me again how we're gonna kill the other one with only one of these newfangled Megavolt Missiles ready...?" T-Bone asked.
"I dunno," Razor admitted. "I guess we'll just have to wing it."
"Fine with me," T-Bone grumbled.
He circled around and headed back toward the Biochemical Labs. Razor sighted the two-eyed bacteria monster through his scope, aiming for the most obvious target, that yawning, perpetially smiling black hole of a maw.
"Open wide, big guy! Say 'ahhh!'!"
Almost as if it heard him, the creature opened its huge mouth wider, as though it expected the Turbokat to fly right in. Razor fired. What appeared to be an ordinary missile flew towards the monster. But as with most of the missiles he designed, it was anything but. Razor had been working on electrical-based missiles for the past few months, and the first fruits of his labors had been this, the Megavolt Missile, whose casing popped off in midair, revealing a segmented conductor mechanism powered by a thousand mevavolt battery. Its one drawback was that it had no means of attaching itself to a target to deliver the electrical charge - a problem he didn't feel he'd encounter with these creatures with their soft, easily penetrable bodies, to say nothing of their tendency to just open their mouths and gulp down whatever came within reach, and the monster he'd targeted didn't disappoint.
The bacteria monster caught the treat in its mouth, gulping it down. The Turbokat flew past it, the creature looking mildly disappointed, smile aside, that the jet had not in fact simply flown right into its mouth after the missile, the SWAT Kats looking back at the huge beast over their shoulders. Nothing seemed to be happening.
T-Bone frowned. "Razor, I thought you said this would work!"
No sooner had the words left his mouth than the bacteria monster began to undergo a sudden change. Its eyes widened and for the first time, its smiled vanished, turning into a frown of confusion and surprise. Seconds later, bluish electrical bolts surged all over its body as it convulsed hideously and, finally, it blew it. The explosion was muted, more like a "poof" than anything, as the creature disappeared into a cloud of crumbling, ashen dust.
Razor smirked. "I, uh, neglected to mention the five-second countdown."
That was it for his one Megavolt Missile. No matter. Due to its shortcomings, he'd already begun designing a newer, better electrical missile to replace it, one capable of attaching itself to targets. He was considering calling it the Scrambler Missile, and he was already confident that its electrical output would surpass that of even the Megavolt. Now his thoughts turned to the final monster. It was incapable of dividing - or so he hoped - but it still represented a clear and present danger to the city, and it was getting larger and larger the more it ate, already almost as large as the buildings around it.
"Okay, sureshot," said T-Bone, circling the block high above, "any ideas on how we 'wing it?'"
Razor stroked his chin, then observed an Enforcer chopper - Feral's, he imagined - hovering nearby, beginning to approaching the final monster. He squinted through his targeting scope. Something had been attached to the side of the chopper. Perhaps the good folks at Megakat Biochemical had supplied the Enforcers with a means of combatting the creatures Razor hadn't thought of.
"Maybe we won't need to," he said, some doubt tinging his voice. He didn't exactly like Feral, but he didn't want him to fail, either; he hoped, in fact, for Megakat City's sake, that the short-tempered Enforcer Commander succeeded nevertheless. "Looks like Feral's gonna try something."
In the Enforcer chopper hovering nearby, Feral and Mayor Manx looked down at the smoking remains of the bacteria monster that the SWAT Kats had just killed.
The Mayor was jubiliant. "The SWAT Kats got that one, Feral!" One down, two to go! He and Feral were, of course, unaware of the fate of the third creature, as were those still inside the labs.
"And I'll get the other one!" Feral said matter-of-factly.
The remaining bacteria monster had just about empted the lab parking lot and surrounding street of rubber-tired edibles and, nearly twelve stories tall now, walked over to the front of the Megakat Biochemical building and looked in through the window. Callie and Dr. Zyme shrank back as the monster peered in at them with its huge yellow eye. The eye looked back and forth and between them. Callie was uneasy. She felt like a bug under a magnifying glass, or, worse, a piece of choice veal being ogled in a butcher's shop window.
Zyme smiled reassuringly. "Don't worry, Ms. Briggs, these windows are made from reinforced armored glass," the biochemist said with what Callie took to be supreme overconfidence. "He can't get us."
So saying, he rapped his knuckles against the glass for emphasis confidently. Thunk-thunk! Callie wished she shared that overconfidence of his, and took a step back from the window, overcome by a dreadful feeling that maybe she and Dr. Zyme shouldn't be standing so close. She reached for his arm to pull him along with her. Suddenly, the monster lifted one enormous, gooey hand and slammed it against the window. The entire room shook. Callie jumped back, as did Zyme. The glass cracked. Zyme's smile - and confidence - vanished. He'd been assured the glass was unbreakable. If these creatures were capable of cracking it, then they weren't simply giant bacteria... they were super bacteria!
Callie was about to vocalize her now very real concern that they ought to get away from the window, when, after another hit, the glass exploded inwards, raining down over her and Zyme as they shielded their faces to avoid being cut. They looked up and screamed as the monster reached one gooey purple hand in through the window. It descended towards them, eclipsing them in its shadow. They screamed again. Callie closed her eyes. Zyme threw his arms up in a pitiful effort to defend himself. They waited for the end.
It didn't come. The hand withdrew. Something had distracted the singleminded creature from its task. Slowly opening her eyes, Callie hearing the whup-whup-whup! of approaching rotor blades. Flinching, she and Zyme watched, blinking, as the slimy purple hulk turned its back to them, to face Commander Feral's approaching chopper. Callie actually let out a little laugh of disbelieving relief. Saved by Feral! Again! Like Razor, she didn't think too highly of the Enforcer Commander... but she was beginning to.
Feral's pilot kept the chopper steady as it hovered in place, the bacteria monster approached it. At the sight of the creature, a whimpering Manx had retreated further back into the rear cargo area, as if that would protect him.
Seated at the firing controls, Feral narrowed his eyes behind the lenses of his targeting visor. "Open wide, slime bucket," he said, and fired.
The antibiotic projectile sailed straight and true. The monster caught and swallowed it, just as its recently deceased predecessor had caught and swallowed the SWAT Kats' missile.
"Got him!" Feral said triumphantly.
But nothing happened. The monster simply stood there. Feral blinked, raising the helmet's targeting visor, confused.
He wasn't the only one who was at a loss. In the main lab, Callie and Dr. Zyme stood beside the broken window, looking out at the unchanging bacteria monster. The longer the monster went without the powerful antibiotics affecting it somehow, the more and more worried the two became.
"I don't understand!" cried Zyme, distressed. "It's not working!"
They suddenly heard a hiss behind them and whirled around to find a pair of glowing yellow eyes peering out at them from a darkened corner of the room. A figure advanced forward. Gradually, a silhouette became visible. A lashing, snakelike tail. Tall, tapering spikes of hair. Dr. Viper stepped into the light, grinning hideously, his ceaseleasly moving tail audibly thumping against the floor behind him with horrifying glee.
He pointed a clawed finger at his former employer. "You were alwaysss a fool, Zyme! My giant bacteria are immune to antibioticsss!"
Any remaining courage drained from Zyme, and he stood defeated and trying to keep himself from trembling. He didn't want to show fear in Viper's presence. Neither did Callie. Mustering her courage, which was no easy task when faced with a twisted fiend such as the half kat, half snake who had proclaimed himself lord of Megakat Swamp and of the Dead Forest in particular, Callie moved to put herself between Viper and Zyme, fists clenched in fury at her sides.
"Dr. Viper!" she said. "I should've known you'd be behind something like this!"
She'd suspected Viper might be behind something like the giant bacteria monsters, but, in truth, the things could've come from anywhere, and it wasn't until this exact moment, when she'd heard that all too familiar hiss behind her, that her suspicions had been confirmed.
Outside, the monster roared angrily and lifted one huge hand, swiping at Feral's chopper. The pilot tried to pull up, but a hit from the monster's hand sent the aircraft spinning out of control. It crashed upright in the street and skidded a ways, leaving a trail of sparks, until it came to a more or less gentle stop, bumping against one of the few parked cars the ravenous bacteria had overlooked. Inside, Feral, Manx and the pilot were shaken, but okay. The bacteria monster stomped towards the downed chopper with greedy hunger in its huge eye. Suddenly, the Turbokat zoomed past its face, commanding its full attention. It abandoned any interest in the crashed chopper and made a failed grab at the jet, slimy fingers closing on empty air as the Turbokat was already out of reached.
T-Bone swung back around, flying at the monster. "Whatever Feral tried to do, it didn't work, buddy!"
"At least he saved Callie and that doctor guy!" Razor said, having witnessed what had very nearly been Callie Briggs' gruesome death from afar, his heart skipping a beat. He never thought he'd say this, but thank goodness for Feral sometimes. "But now it's up to us to take this thing out!"
"Roger," said T-Bone. He swooped past the bacteria monster a second time, the monster trying once again to grab the jet unsuccessfully.
Back inside Megakat Biochemical, Viper seemed content to ignore both Callie and Dr. Zyme, moving through the room with that waddling, slithering walk of his. Okay, so, she thought, it's Dr. Viper. Now what? Try and escape? Wait to be rescued by the SWAT Kats? Attack him? Behind her, Zyme was inching towards the door. Callie realized the biochemist had the right idea. Waiting to be rescued was foolhardy... and trying to attack someone like Dr. Viper was suicide. And so she joined him in moving towards the door... until she saw where Viper was headed, and fury overtook her.
He went over to the shelves where numerous katalysts, some in stoppered Erlenmeyer flasks, others in futuristic-looking canisters, sat neatly-labeled and lined up in numerical order. Viper grabbed one canister filled with a dull orange bubbly chemical, not too dissimilar in the color of the antibiotic formula Feral had just tried and failed to use against the remaining giant bacteria, and grinned.
"Katalyssst 99!" he said, more to himself than to his audience of two. "At lassst!"
He grabbed another. And another. And another. And still more. His arms were full to overflowing with them, and still he grabbed more, as though intent on taking every single sample the lab had on hand. And with each canister he grabbed, Callie's fury grew. She'd expected something grander from the evil scientist to justify the destruction caused by his creations. She was not directly aware of anyone who'd died as a result of the bacteria's rampage, but she was positive at least some citizens had been hurt or killed. And she thought of how she and Dr. Zyme, who remained behind her, having hesitated at the door, refusing to leave without her, had almost been killed by one of the things. All so Viper could steal some chemicals.
And as her anger overtook her, she took a few steps towards the snakelike scientist greedily gathering up canisters of katalysts like a kid in a candy store, and she confronted him directly.
"So that's what all this is about?" she cried. "A robbery?! What kind of sick, twisted-"
Angrily, Viper turned with his armload of Katalyst 99, cutting her off. "Sssilence! How dare you quessstion my plansss?"
You arrogant sicko, Callie thought. All thoughts of not provoking the mutated villain went out the proverbial broken window as a furious Callie grabbed a pencil jar off a nearby desk and threw it at him. It smacked into the back of Viper's head, sending pencils flying everywhere. He tensed and his eyes glowed with fury.
"You won't get away with this, Viper," Callie vowed. "The SWAT Kats will see to that!"
"No, Ms. Briggsss..." Viper said without turning around.
Suddenly, his tail lashed out, whipping across the room, and before Callie could react, it encircled her, and Zyme behind her, coiling around them. It tightened. They were squeezed together against one another, and Callie felt the air forced from her lungs. The coils crushed so tightly around them that the buttons on her blazer popped off. Viper dragged them over to himself.
"...it's you who won't get away!" he finished, cackling evilly.
So much for doing things the smart way, Callie thought, scolding herself for having let her temper, her anger at Viper's petty motivations get the better of her. Now there was no hope for escape, unless...
Whoosh! The Turbokat flew past the broken window, close enough that Callie caught the briefest of glimpses of T-Bone and Razor in the cockpit. The SWAT Kats!
In the Turbokat, the SWAT Kats got a glance of Viper with his prisoners as they flew by. "Callie!" cried T-Bone in dismay.
"And Dr. Viper!" said Razor. "So he's behind all this!"
Inside the lab, Viper was beyond furious. The final bacteria monster stepped into view, its enormous purple bulk filling the view out the window. For a brief instant, Callie was terrified Viper would fling her and Zyme into its mouth, but, instead, he simply pointed at it with his free hand, arm quaking in fury.
"Get them! Desssstroy the SWAT Katsss!" he rasped. The monster roared and moved off to obey. With that seen to, Viper seemed to calm down some. As for his two prisoners, he said, "A couple of hossstages should ensure my essscape. And when we return to my home in the Dead Foressst, I'll be sure to make you both quite comfortable." He cackled and flicked his forked tongue.
Callie shuddered in horror and disgust. She had no doubt that Viper's idea of "comfortable" was something truly repugnant indeed.
The Turbokat flew down the street with the final bacteria monster plodding along behind it, pushing buildings over to make room for itself as it pursued the aircraft. Razor looked back to see the wide mouth open, rushing up to devour them. The thing was slowly but steadily gaining on them!
"Step on it, T-Bone!" he cried.
"I am!" said T-Bone, pushing the jet's power to the max. This successfully put some distance between them and the monster, the creature roaring in pain as it got a face full of the Turbokat's flaming jet exhaust. "Yeah, eat afterburner!" T-Bone yelled.
But this only deterred the creature for a few moments before it recovered and resumed its pursuit. There was no way it could catch them now, but there was still plenty of damage it could do and plenty of lives it could take, all while its slithery creator was doing who knew what to Callie back at Megakat Biochemical.
Knowing Dr. Viper was behind the monsters - whatever they were, as the SWAT Kats had not been privy to Dr. Zyme's identification of them - was revelatory but not exactly helpful to them. At least not to T-Bone. Given time, Razor could probably come up with a few theories about the things' origins and makeup and figure out a means of killing this last monster based on that information, but time was something they didn't have. Lives were hanging in the balance. The longer the final monster lived, the more people it endangered... and the more time it bought for Dr. Viper to escape with Callie and Zyme as his prisoners.
Just the thought of Callie in Dr. Viper's slimy coils filled T-Bone with rage and he gritted his teeth as he wracked his brain, trying to think of a way to kill this final creature so he could return to Megakat Biochemical and make Viper eat his fist.
It was best, he knew, to go with what they knew worked. Heat and electricity. The Turbokat's afterburners had certainly hurt it, but the amount of jet fuel they'd need to cook a walking pile of slime that was growing increasingly taller than the buildings it was knocking down was more than the Turbokat could carry. That left electricity. T-Bone glanced over at some powerlines leading towards a power substation. The Megavolt Missile had done well for the two-eyed creature a few minutes ago, and from what Razor had told him about what had happened in the subway, so had the subway tracks' third rail. He grinned. An idea was forming.
"I've got an idea!" he said.
"I'm all ears!" said Razor.
"I'm gonna wing it just like you said," T-Bone said, his grin broadening, amused at his own joke.
Razor didn't get it. T-Bone pointed, and he glanced over following T-Bone's pointing finger. He still didn't understand what his friend meant by "winging it," but he imagined that whatever it was the bigger SWAT Kat had in mind involved electrocuting the crud out of Viper's final monster, so he was all for it, nodding and giving his partner a thumbs-up.
T-Bone banked right and flew down a side street towards the substation. It was a mid-sized, nearly featureless building surrounded by huge metal transformer towers. A sign on the front read "Megakat Power Sub-Station: Restricted!" Low-hanging powerlines snaked out from the towards to feed the hungry buildings of Megakat City, gradually rising in height as taller and taller towers carried them towards their destinations.
Deftly avoiding the powerlines, T-Bone swooped under them, up and around in a wide turn as the bacteria monster emerged from between the buildings from the side street and headed towards the power station. As though suspecting something, it paused, and for a brief instant as he made his turn, T-Bone was afraid his plan wasn't going to work... but then the grinning purple behemoth continued forward. Moving cars on a metal bridge passing over the area a few blocks ahead had apparently caught its eye, and it forgot all about the Turbokat.
Completing his turn, T-Bone flew down towards the monster as it lumbered underneath the powerlines. Now, suddenly, as the red and black jet returned to its field of vision, it remembered Dr. Viper's orders: destroy the SWAT Kats. And so the last of the bacteria monsters forgot about the yummy-looking cars on the bridge and plodded forward dumbly with outstretched arms, intent on catching and swallowing the Turbokat.
"I sure hope you know what you're doing!" said Razor. To him, it seemed like his partner intended to fly directly into the thing's huge, grinning maw. He had a bizarre mental image of flying inside its body to fight its brain.
"Boy do I ever!" said T-Bone. He looked over his shoulder. "Like I said... I'm gonna wing it." He turned back around and pushed the throttle forwards. He narrowed his eyes at the creature he closed the distance between them. "You're gonna get a charge outta this, big guy!"
Now Razor understood what T-Bone had meant by winging it. He understood even before T-Bone flipped the Turbokat around to fly sideways, one wing aimed down at the street, the other pointing towards the sky. He couldn't himself and laughed as he finally got the joke, T-Bone skillfully piloting the jet under the powerlines mere inches from the monster's body right as it was passing underneath them. The upturned wing hit and cut the wires, which fell right onto the bacteria monster. Thousands, maybe millions of volts, all intended to power the surrounding area of the city, coursed through the monster's body. It convulsed, its eye rolling up and back in its head. Unlike its brothers, it continued smiling throughout its gruesome electrocution. It was unnerving to watch the thing die with that stupid smile on its face, and the SWAT Kats couldn't help shuddering a little.
The monster's body turned from a soft, slimy purple to a crusty, burnt brownish gray, and it hardened into a dried up husk, formerly yellow eye white, shrivelled and blank, sparks still flying from the downed lines as the monster just stood there, mouth open in a silent, smiling scream of pain. The last vestige of Morbulus was gone, although the SWAT Kats couldn't know this and never would. After a moment, the husk started to crack and crumble away, first in little chunks, and finally in enormous blobs, collapsing into a dusty pile in the middle of the street.
"Yeah!" cried T-Bone.
"That was great, T-Bone!" cried Razor.
"It was great 'cause it was your idea, buddy!" replied the other SWAT Kat. "Like you said. I winged it."
Razor sighed. T-Bone wasn't going to let this go for a while. "Sure, sure, a clever play on words." His expression hardened. "Now, let's double back and head back to Megakat Biochemical Labs!"
"Yeah," agreed T-Bone. "We've got a snake to catch!"
The jet swooped down the street, the wind blowing away little particles of what had once been the bacteria monster.
Viper snickered evilly as he held his armfuls of Katalyst 99. Callie and Dr. Zyme still struggled in the grip of his tail. By now, he reasoned, his creation had killed the SWAT Kats. After that, he didn;t care where it went or what it did, as long as it kept everyone busy long enough for him to escape with his prisoners. Suddenly, the lights went out. That was odd. Oh, well, he thought. No matter. He glanced over his shoulder as the Deputy Mayor and his former employer continued their useless wiggling.
And, he reminded himself, his true prize. He looked down at all of that Katalyst 99, bubbling away in the containers. His at last to do with as he pleased. He flicked his forked tongue in pleasure as he envisioned his true plans for the chemical. It was the final ingredient he needed to create a spore pod to--
His thoughts were interrupted by the familiar toar of jet engines growing steadily louder and louder. He turned to look out the remaining, unbroken window of the room.
"Huh?!" he cried.
The Turbokat was flying right at him.
"Aahhhhh!!!" he screamed, struggling to think of something, anything, to do to avert the utter disaster he saw unfolding before him.
There was no time. Two Octopus Missiles smashed through the armored glass, knocking the mutated scientist back. Although he managed to keep hold of his load of katalysts, the impact caused him to drop his two hostages, who were dropped harmlessly aside, rolling across the floor. Still clutching his armful of canisters, the evil biochemist flew across the room and smacked into the wall, the missiles punching through into the next room. There were muffled explosions from next door. Viper slid to the floor, the canisters finally falling from his grip and rolling every which way. Stunned, Viper couldn't even entertain the idea of going after them before part of the lab roof caved in, burying him under debris.
Putting the Turbokat into VTOL mode, T-Bone flew in and landed. His calculations regarding the size of Megakat Biochemical's huge main laboratory had been correct. It was easily large enough to contain the jet. Popping the canopy, he leaped out and walked over to where Callie and Zyme were, having remained where they'd fallen. They both sat up. He checked Zyme first. The biochemist was shaken up pretty badly but otherwise unhurt. Then he turned to Callie, kneeling down beside her and placing a hand on her shoulder. Her hair was a little frazzled and her glasses were crooked, but like Zyme she seemed otherwise fine.
"Are you okay, Ms. Briggs?" he asked gently.
"Yeah, I'll live," she replied.
With a smile, T-Bone straightened her glasses for her. She blushed a little at the affectionate gesture.
"But where's--" she began.
She was cut off as Dr. Viper popped up from under the debris a few feet away. He looked quite ticked off, his lab coat torn and shredded, hair frazzled and askew. His eyes glowed. "Curssse you, you meddling SWAT Katsss!" he shrieked hoarsely in impotent rage.
Getting out of the jet, Razor hopped down. T-Bone rose and the two stood side by side, readying their Glovatrixes. "Party's over, Viper," Razor said angrily.
Viper only responded with evil laughter. "Hardly!" he said, and thrust his arms into the wreckage at his feet, rummaging around. After a moment, he pulled them back out, a canister of Katalyst 99 in each hand. "There haven't been any fireworks yet!"
So saying, he began violently shaking them. The SWAT Kats hesitated, puzzled.
Suddenly, Dr. Zyme leaped to his feet, pointing. "Nooooooo!" he cried. "Viper, don't! Katalyst 99 is too volatile! You'll destroy the whole building!"
Laughing insanely now, Viper hurled the shaken canisters at the floor between himself and the SWAT Kats, where they explodeed! Fire erupted wherever the fizzing orange liquid landed. A blaze quickly engulfed the lab, the flames moving towards some shelves of chemicals nearby. T-Bone seemed intent on braving the fire to apprehend Viper, who was rushing towards the door with what looked like two or three canisters of Katalyst 99 in his hand; it was difficult to tell in the fire and smoke. Razor grabbed his arm, stopping him.
"Let me go!" the big SWAT Kat demanded, tugging. "I'm gonna bring that slimy lizard to justice, and nothing's gonna stop me!"
"Not even flammable chemicals that'll blow us all into orbit?!" cried Razor, pointing. "T-Bone! Think! We've gotta get out of here before the flames hit those chemicals!"
T-Bone conceded. He was angry at not being able to get Viper, but getting themselves and Callie to safety was more important. He grabbed Callie's wrist, and the two hopped into the cockpit. There wasn't even time to buckle in as Callie settled into T-Bone's lap. Razor got in next.
"Come on, Doc!" Razor said, offering a hand down to Zyme, which the biochemist grabbed without hesitation. He grunted, pulling the scientist into the jet. Like Callie, Zyme was forced to sit in Razor's lap, but Razor didn't mind. He didn't get the damsel like his partner did, but at least they were getting the heck out of there!
The canopy slid shut over the four's heads, and T-Bone turned the jet around so the nose was pointing out the broken window they'd flown in through, the engines aimed towards the back wall of the room, the one Viper and the Octopus Missiles had slammed into.
"Everybody hang on!" T-Bone yelled, and punched it.
The Turbokat's engines ignited right when the shelves of chemicals did. The flames hit the barrels and they went up in huge gouts of flame that tore through the ceiling even as the Turbokat's engines obliterated the entire back wall. The entire front of the building exploded, raining glass and debris down onto the street and the ruined artillery cannons while Feral and Mayor Manx looked on from beside the crashed Enforcer chopper.
The Turbokat roared triumphantly through the flames, a bit singed, but otherwise unharmed, and flew down the street before landing. Leaving Manx by the chopper, Feral ran over, relieved to see Deputy Mayor Briggs and Dr. Zyme both alive and well, each in the lap of a SWAT Kat. And, much as he hated to admit it, he was glad the two vigilantes were alive, as well. After all, he wanted them jailed, not killed. The canopy opened and the SWAT Kats got out, helping Callie and Zyme down.
"Ms. Briggs!" cried Feral as he ran up. "Are you all right?"
"Yes," she replied, and smiled at T-Bone. "Thanks to the SWAT Kats."
Feral couldn't contain his contempt. "Pheh!" he grumbled. "Thanks to them, half of Megakat City is without power!" The loss of power in the area hadn't gone unnoticed by him. He swept one enormous hand towards Megakat Biochemical blazing down the street. "And Megakat Biochemical Labs is totally destroyed!"
"Actually, Commander," said Dr. Zyme, holding up a finger, "that was Dr. Viper's doing."
"Viper, huh?" said Feral. That figured. "Makes sense that he'd be behind something like this." He itched to cuff that slippery freak of nature. "Where is he?" he demanded.
T-Bone jerked a thumb back at the burning lab. "In there. You're welcome to go looking for him."
Despite himself, Feral managed to crack a smile. "Thanks, I'll pass," he said. His smiled faded. "All right, I won't charge you for the damage to the labs, but I still hold you responsible for the loss of power!"
Both SWAT Kats hopped defiantly back into the cockpit.
"When you find a better way to deep-fry a hundred tons of purple glop, Feral, you let us know," said T-Bone.
Feral was still ranting, shaking his fist. "And don't forget the Megakat Refinery! And the damage to City Hall!"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," said T-Bone, "send us a bill!"
Feral grit his teeth angrily and considered drawing his laser pistol as the cockpit canopy slid closed again. He could fire a warning shot in order to persuade them to surrender. But he banished this ludicrous notion from his head. His pistol never left the shoulder holster under his greatcoat. He hated the SWAT Kats, but they had saved the Deputy Mayor and Dr. Zyme and stopped Viper, and killed his monsters. He supposed he could let them go this time. There'd be another chance to bring them to justice.
Everyone stood back as the jet took off from the street. T-Bone and Razor gave Callie and Feral a thumbs-up. Callie smiled and waved. Feral just scowled. They stood and watched as the Turbokat flew away. It was now the early afternoon, the sun much higher in the sky, the reddish hue of the morning giving way to the lighter green of day.
"Y'know, I think it's gonna turn out to be a beautiful day, eh Razor?" T-Bone said, content. After the disaster that had been the previous day, this morning's more successful outing had put him in a good mood. Another building had been destroyed, but at least this time it hadn't been their fault.
"Affirmitive," agreed Razor. "Let's go home."
As the Turbokat flew over the power substation, T-Bone glanced down to see Burke and Murray using a bulldozer to clean up the smouldering remains of the last bacteria monster by the powerlines. Some Megakat Power linemen were busy repairing the downed lines. "Hey, check it out."
"Yeah," said Razor, "looks like Burke and Murray have one loooong day ahead of them."
"Remind me to get 'em some anchovy pizza when they get back," T-Bone said. "Jerks or not, they'll have earned it."
Razor smiled and nodded as the Turbokat flew off into the horizon.